Giving up alcohol and drugs to live a life of sobriety is no easy task. If you know someone who’s gone through the difficult struggle against addiction, then that’s a milestone worth celebrating!
This special person in your life may already know their “sobriety birthday” or the anniversary of their sobriety. But, if they don’t already know how long they’ve been sober, you can help them figure it out with a sobriety calculator. All they have to do is put in the date they last drank or the first full day they had without drinking, and it’ll say how many days, weeks, or years they’ve been sober.
Obviously, the same calendar calculation can be done by hand, thought it can be quite cumbersome especially if you want precision. If doing it this way, start from the number of years, then months, then weeks, until you get to days and hours, if you know the exact date and hour the committed to sobriety.
With that date in mind, regardless if it was from a sobriety calculator or not, you’ll know exactly when to celebrate them for their achievement. Keep in mind that any amount time is worth acknowledging! At first, you may be stumped at how to plan a fun celebration without incorporating alcohol, but there are lots of options that won’t put their sobriety at stake.
Get a Sentimental Gift
If you’re unsure about how to celebrate sobriety, giving a thoughtful gift is always a safe bet. Remember, you don’t have to break the bank buying something extravagant. Instead, simply focus on what might bring them joy. For example, that could be a book they’ve been wanting to read, a new journal, a package of special tea, or a bouquet of their favorite flowers. Even baking them a sweet treat like a cake or cookies would be appreciated!
Do Something They Enjoy
Experiences can be just as great of gifts as material things. Instead of purchasing a traditional present, you can plan an outing that your celebrant will love. Depending on their interests, that could mean having a picnic outside, doing a spa day, visiting a theme park, or going skydiving.
Doing a fun activity like this proves that a sober life is one that can be just as exciting and enjoyable. Plus, the memories you make together will be something you both can treasure long after the experience is over.
Throw a “Sobriety Party”
You don’t have to count out throwing a party just because there won’t be any alcohol involved. A sober party can be just as fun as a festivity with drinking! All you have to do is move the focus from alcohol to food, games, and great conversation. Of course, for some people, having alcohol present at the party is okay for them, but it may take away from this party’s purpose. You could make the event a potluck or have a fancy dinner party.
When considering the guest list for the party, invite people who know and understand your celebrant’s sobriety. That way you can avoid possible misunderstandings, and it’ll be an occasion full of support rather than judgment.
Write a Personal Letter
It’s okay if you aren’t able to spend money to buy a gift or plan a special event. Some thoughtful words from you can go a long way. Grab a card and write a letter about how proud you are of them for staying sober and how they’re not alone in their recovery. Just like with other birthdays and anniversaries, this occasion is deserving of some nice words as well.
Attend a Sobriety Meeting With Them
Going to an AA meeting might not be your first idea when thinking about a celebration, but it is a nice way for someone to step back and reflect on all the progress they’ve made. As long as they’re comfortable with you tagging along with them, your presence shows that you support and celebrate their sobriety journey.
As an extra bonus, they may even get a chip depending on what milestone they’re commemorating, which will serve as a meaningful token of their accomplishment. Being that friend or family member that can join in this achievement, can be a great way to celebrate, perhaps followed by a nice meal at the person’s favorite restaurant.
Avoid Bringing Up Something Negative
As you plan a sobriety celebration, it’s important to stay away from any triggers that might bring up negative feelings in that person. Avoiding bars is typically a given, but you also probably want to steer clear of places that may bring up bad memories for the person.
Since too much stress could also push someone to relapse, don’t gift or plan anything that might put an undue amount of pressure on them (for example, setting up a huge gathering for an introvert or planning a trip). Being respectful of places and situations that may lead them to temptation is just another way you can show you appreciate them and their sobriety. Just asking what the person would like to do is a good place to start!
You can use an online sobriety calculator to figure out how long someone has been sober in order to celebrate their achievement. When planning the celebration, there are plenty of alcohol and drug-free options, from giving them a special gift to going on an adventurous outing.
Cindy is a freelance writer and editor with previous experience in marketing as well as book publishing. Along with her content writing for a diverse portfolio of clients, Cindy’s work has been featured in Thrillist, The Points Guy, Forbes, and more.